10 January 2009

family update: almost-a-dog-napping* edition

by Cecily
Remember Oscar?

Oscar has apparently been having adventures, over there in Mozambique. My father reports:

Oscar got lost the other day. In piecing together the various bits and pieces, it seems like he was outside in the afternoon when a mechanic was working on our "new" car. (We just bought a second car, and the belts needed to be replaced.). When the mechanic took the car out, Oscar apparently ran out. There was a new guard (Yes, we have 24-7 guards at the house, as do most people. It's a little strange walking around. I'm not sure if greeting all the guards on the sidewalk is a standard civility, or an intrusion.), who wasn't able to call Oscar back. That evening, I was walking around with the guard looking for Oscar, and left my phone number with some people saying we'd pay a reward for his return.

The next day, I got a call and from a guy who said he had a lead. It looks like there was a young guy who found Oscar, and took him to his employer's house. (She seemed to be a nice woman who likes dogs, not a Dog-napping Queen.) The person closest to sleazy was the go-between. He seems to be basically a street-savvy hustler. His role, I suppose, was calling around to his contacts to see who had a dog fitting Oscar's description. He was a sharp-dresssed guy, crisp white shirt with cuff links, crisp pants. His vehicle was unusual, by my experience. It was a small Japanese or Indian truck/pickup, one of those flat-nosed jobs, with a big flat bed and sides that come down like a tailgate. It was clean, and had sporty wheels with low-profile tires. An odd combination of sporty-looking and utilitarian.

Anyway, Oscar had a couple of wounds, apparently from encounters with other dogs. That suggests to me that he wasn't just stolen as soon as he got out, and that he got spooked, wandered around, and eventually the kid picked him up, figuring that there'd be a reward for him. (One of the local peculiarities is that there are street dogs, a lot of people who are unfamiliar with dogs, and a recognized stolen-dog market. People go there to shop for exotic dogs, and perhaps to buy their dog back.) When we got to the place that had Oscar, and then we were waiting for a while, I called the US Embassy, and they sent an investigator (Mozambican) over to inquire about the situation. (The local security guys like to know about strange things going on.) He came, and had some police friends come, too. None of the participants, except us, were very happy to see the police. They explained that we didn't have to pay anything, but that we could if we wanted. In the end, we decided that Oscar really had been found, not stolen, and paid rewards.

It's probably all because he is so famous on the internet.

What a ridiculous animal.

*Did you notice how this hyphenated term results in some ambiguity? It could mean there was almost a dognapping. On the other hand, it could mean an almost-a-dog was 'napped. Hell yeah I did that on purpose. I have a Master's Degree in Linguistics!